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Economy in Brief

U.S. ADP Private Sector Payrolls Remain Firm
by Tom Moeller  October 31, 2018

The ADP National Employment Report indicated that private nonfarm payrolls increased 227,000 (2.0% y/y) during October following a 218,000 September rise, revised from 230,000. Expectations had been for a 185,000 gain in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. So far this year, private nonfarm payrolls rose 204,000 on average per month versus a 185,000 average during 2017. During the last ten years, there has been a 96% correlation between the change in the ADP figure and the change in nonfarm private-sector payrolls as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The ADP National Employment Report is calculated from ADP's business payroll transaction system covering 411,000 companies and nearly 24 million employees. The data is calibrated and aligned with the Bureau of Labor Statistics establishment survey data and is produced by the Automatic Data Processing Research Institute in collaboration Moody's Analytics Inc. The ADP data only cover private sector employment.

Small business payrolls expanded 29,000 (1.2% y/y) following a 43,000 rise. The three-month average gain declined to 31,000 from a January high of 78,000. Medium-sized payrolls gained 96,000 (2.6% y/y) and a fairly steady 101,000 on a three-month basis. Large payrolls increased 102,000 (2.6% y/y) and strengthened 70,000, on average, during the last three months.

Growth in goods-producing payrolls slipped to 38,000 (2.5% y/y) this month, but growth was steady at 29,000 on a three-month basis. Construction sector payrolls rose 17,000 (3.3% y/y) which was little changed from its three-month average. Mining sector payrolls grew a slightly weaker 4,000 (7.7% y/y).

Private service sector payrolls advanced 189,000 (1.9% y/y), the strongest increase in nine months. Improvement was led by a 61,000 rise (1.4% y/y) in trade, transportation & utilities which was the strongest increase in four years. Leisure & hospitality jobs rose a modestly improved 40,000 (2.2% y/y). Professional and business services payrolls rose a slightly lessened 36,000 (2.7% y/y) while education & health services jobs gained 31,000 (2.1% y/y), roughly half the monthly increase averaged in 2016. Information sector employment rose 4,000 (0.1% y/y) following declines in the prior five months. Financial services sector jobs also improved 4,000 (1.5% y/y), down from double-digit gains in each of the prior three months.

The ADP National Employment Report data can be found in Haver's USECON database; historical figures date back to April 2001 for the total and industry breakdown, and back to January 2005 for the business size breakout. The expectation figure is available in Haver's AS1REPNA database

ADP/Moody's National Employment Report Oct Sep Aug Oct Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Nonfarm Private Payroll Employment (m/m chg, 000s) 227 218 162 2.0% 1.8% 1.9% 2.3%
 Small Payroll (1-49) 29 43 21 1.2 1.3 1.9 1.9
 Medium Payroll (50-499) 96 96 112 2.6 1.9 1.5 2.3
 Large Payroll (>500) 102 79 29 2.6 2.3 2.7 3.0
Goods-Producing 38 48 2 2.5 1.5 0.8 2.0
  Construction 17 33 -14 3.3 3.1 4.3 5.3
  Manufacturing 17 10 15 1.7 0.7 0.2 1.2
Service-Producing 189 170 160 1.9 1.8 2.2 2.3
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